Kubaba is a new peer reviewed open access journal specializing in the Pre-Classical world of the Ancient Near East and Eastern Mediterranean. The Portuguese Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas – Universidade Nova de Lisboa publishes Kubaba. They accept papers in Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian, and French.
Here’s the table of contents for their first edition:
Editorial announcement, 1

  • Honor guest – H. Craig Melchert: Remarks on the Kuttamuwa Stele, 3-11
  • João Pedro Vieira: A fertilidade como eixo do divino em Ugarit. O caso de Ba’lu, 12-19
  • Joost Kramer: The symbolic meaning of the scene of Nut, Geb, and Shu, 20-37
  • Brent Davis: Introduction to the Aegean pre-alphabetic scripts, 38-61


  • Elias Pinheiro: Rituals of War. The Body and Violence in Mesopotamia – Zainab Bahrani, 63-70

To me, Melchert’s guest paper on the body/soul dualism found in the Kuttamuwa Unscription is the most significant. It is a reminder that we cannot wear disciplinary blinders when we consider ancient texts. Against claims, mostly in popular reports, that the Kuttamuwa Inscription, “provides the first written evidence in the region that people believed the soul was separate from the body,” Melchert, 5-6, writes,

For those familiar with the belief system of Hittite and Luvian speakers it is not remotely startling or sensational that a man with the good Luvian name of Kuttamuwa from one of the “Neo-Hittite” states in an area formerly controlled by the Hittite Empire expresses a belief in the continued existence of the soul apart from the body. It would on the contrary be surprising if he did not.

And then he proceeds to pile up evidence for belief in a soul separate from the body starting with mid second millennium Hittite and Luvian material.
While I admit I haven’t worked my way through it, Portuguese is a bit of a barrier for me, it is good do see that João Pedro Vieira cites Loren Fisher’s 1965 paper, “Creation at Ugarit and in the Old Testament,” Vetus Testamentum 15.3, 313-324.

5 thoughts on “Kubaba

  1. I was interested in the review of Rituals of War but was quickly discouraged by the Portuguese as well. Of all the Romance languages it give me the most problems.

  2. Duane,
    Thanks for this information. I read Brent Davis: Introduction to the Aegean pre-alphabetic scripts, 38-61. This was helpful, but I was shocked that there was no mention of Gordon, Astour, or Rendsburg. Even if he does not like their work, it needs to be a part of his attempt to give a broad coverage.
    Thanks, Loren

  3. Jim, I worry that language nationalism, which has always been a problem for people who lacked German, French and/or English, will make it so that almost no one will be able to read relevant scholarly literature in anything close to its totality even if they focus on a very narrow field of study. Another example is the significant work that Turkish scholars are doing and publishing in Turkish. And then there’s all that work in modern Hebrew that I need to struggle with from time to time.
    Loren, Yeah, I noticed that problem with the Davis paper also. I guess, I should have mentioned it. In fact, while I liked having glyphs sets all in one place, I actually found the paper a little shallow in several ways. It was a little too much of an introduction and not enough of a discussion.

  4. Dear commentators:
    I do not understand your reference on “language nationalism”. Using some language is only “nationalist” if it is other than English or French? Are Turkish people being “nationalist” when they speak at home in their own language? I believe English-speaking or French-speaking people should learn other languages as well, like Spanish, Italian, German or Portuguese. Maybe the arrogance of some British, and especially American people comes from the fact that they believe they are not obliged to learn any other languages, but instead, the whole world should learn to speak theirs. Wouldn’t that be enriching?
    Many Thanks
    J. Álvares

  5. I knew I would get in trouble for saying “language nationalism.” I did try to point out in my first sentence that I thought the phrase applied to German, French, and English also. But I sure could have been clearer. My real point is that it is almost impossible for a average student of the Near East to be able to read German, French, English which have been absolute requirements for a very long time plus Hebrew and Arabic which are obvious requirements, plus Turkish, Farsi, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and yes Portuguese.

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